On Wednesday, Puerto Rico's House of Representatives approved a bill to amend the 2017 Labor Reform Law and expand benefits to the working-class people.
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The reforms allow the accumulation of 1.25 days of vacation and sick leave per month for those who have a full-time contract and grant part-time workers one day of sick leave and half a day of vacation per month. The Lower House also accepted double overtime pay for those who work flexible hours. Previously, the employee only paid the equivalent of 1.5 hours' salary for each hour of overtime work.
Besides reducing a worker's probationary period from 6 months to 3 months, the reforms set the number of hours necessary to receive a Christmas bonus in 700 hours for large companies and 1,000 hours for small and medium-sized companies.
“The approval of these amendments is a step forward in the fight for the workers' rights in Puerto Rico. The bill is the result of dialogue and cooperation between unions, private sectors representatives, and workers," Labor Affairs Committee Chairman Domingo Torres said.
The Committee also sought to investigate current labor conditions of the working-class people and respond accordingly. Lawmakers took into account all economic sectors in an effort to create legislation that would respond to the demands of workers.
In the Senate, the bill's treatment was postponed due to decisions made by the New Progressive Party, the Puerto Rican Independent Party, and the Victoria Citizen Movement.
Earlier in the month, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi expressed concerns over the proposed bill. He specifically pointed at the increase in pay for overtime, which he said could hurt business owners.